parenting

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  • What is Smart Play?

    With the increased presence of technology in children’s products and toys, you may have come across the term smart toys. […]

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  • Is my child a brat?

    Is my child a brat?: See what Playapy Founder, Amy Baez, has to say?

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  • Heads, Tummies, & Tails: A Smart Guide to Printing Lowercase Letters

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    THE BACKSTORY:

    Heads,
    Tummies & Tails: A Smart Guide to Printing Lowercase Letters was developed to improve the handwriting of children by providing therapeutic techniques to assist in their learning. One of the
    most common errors that occur with children’s handwriting is the alignment of
    letters.  This refers to how the letters
    are placed in relation to each other and also the lines used to assist with
    maintaining the letters in a straight line.  
    Unlike uppercase letters, which are all drawn from the top and fit
    inside the same space, lowercase letters vary more and, as a result, are more
    confusing.

    In this book, lowercase letters are separated into three groups to help children
    relate the letters to the lines on which they were writing. In addition, ten action word phrases are used to help a child memorize how to form individual letters. This provides a multisensory approach as the child feels the motion of the pencil, hears the words, and sees the strokes as they are being formed into letters. In addition, there is a helpful mascot cheering along as a child works his or her way through the book.  

    This
    workbook was created to help parents, educators, and occupational therapists. Its concept is smart and effective and should be
    introduced around 5 years of age when children typically begin
    learning lowercase letters. It is intended to be completed after its companion workbook for uppercase letters. The separation of uppercase and lowercase letters leads to greater success. 

    THE CONCEPT:

    The 26
    lowercase letters of the alphabet are separated into three alignment groups: Heads,
    Tummies, & Tails
    .

    Lowercase letters that
    ascend or “touch the top line” are in the Heads group. These are
    the following 7 letters: b d f h k l t. Ask Your
    Child:  Which letters touch the top line
    like the monkey’s head?

    Lowercase letters that
    remain at the middle or “mark the middle line” are in the Tummies group.

    These are the following 14
    letters: a c e i m n o r s u v w x z. Ask Your Child:  Which letters stay in the middle like the
    monkey’s tummy?

    Lowercase letters that
    descend or “break through the bottom line” are in the Tails group.

    These are the following 5
    letters: g j p q y.
    Ask Your Child:  Which letters break through the bottom line
    like the monkey’s tail? 

         

     

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    The 26 uppercase letters of the alphabet can be formed using ten simple phrases called Action Words: Add a Dot, Break Through, Curve Around, Make an Ear, Make a Hook Down, Make a Hook Up, Slide Down, Slide Up, Zip Down, and Zoom Across.

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    THE SET-UP:

    First introduce the Action Words pages. They are used to introduce the language used for the formation of the curved and straight lines. The Coloring Pages are then used as introductions to the different groups. The groups do not need to be completed in the order they are presented.

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    Next, each letter will have a page within a group. Action words printed in bold should be said aloud to guide the child. Using a character voice makes it more fun and encourages the child to say the words as well. There are also alignment circles on these pages that match the placement of the monkey’s head, tummy and tail. They help to encourage proper placement of letters.

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    Lastly, there are additional pages including reviews of the groups, copying words, and activity pages. The workbook also includes a visual chart and a guide with all the action words for the 26 letters on one page.

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    Visit www.playapy.com to purchase the award-winning Heads, Tummies, & Tails and its companion workbook Treasure C.H.E.S.T.: A Smart Guide to Printing Uppercase Letters.

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  • Treasure C.H.E.S.T.: A Smart Guide to Printing Uppercase Letters

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    THE BACKSTORY:  

    Treasure
    C.H.E.S.T.: A Smart Guide to Printing Uppercase Letters was developed to improve the handwriting of children by providing specific therapeutic techniques. One of the most common errors that occur with children’s
    handwriting is the formation and directionality of letters. This refers to the direction the child moves
    the pencil to form letters. Since all
    uppercase letters begin on the top line, it makes sense to associate letters by
    groups according to the curved or straight lines used to form them.

    The uppercase letters are separated into six groups to
    help children relate the letters to common objects. In addition, seven action word phrases are used to help a child memorize how to form individual letters. This provides a multisensory approach as the child feels the motion of the pencil, hears the words, and sees the strokes as they are being formed into letters. In addition, there is a helpful mascot cheering along as a child works his or her way through the book.  

    This workbook was created to help parents, educators, and occupational therapists.  Its concept is smart and
    effective and can be introduced as early as 4 years of age when children
    typically begin to draw simple shapes. However, it is most
    effective when started around age 5 or when a child is able to neatly and
    easily copy strokes on command and has strong foundational skills including a
    functional pencil grasp. It is meant to be completed before its companion workbook for lowercase letters. 

    THE CONCEPT:

    The 26 uppercase letters of the alphabet are separated into six formation groups that spell out the acronym CHEST: Clocks, Hats & Hooks, Ears, Slides, & Trees.

    C is for Clocks. These 5 letters curve around like a circular clock: C G O Q S.              

    H is for Hats. These 5 letters have a line across the top like a hat: E F I T Z.

    H is also for Hooks.  These 2 letters curve up like a hook: J U.

    E is for Ears. These 4 letters have a bump on the right side like an ear: B D P R.

    S is for Slides. These 5 letters slide down to the side like a playground slide: A V W X Y.

    T is for Trees. These 5 letters zip straight down and have branches like a tree: H K L M N.

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    The
    26 uppercase letters of the alphabet can be formed using seven simple phrases called Action
    Words: Curve Around, Make an Ear, Make a Hook, Slide Down, Slide Up,
    Zip Down, and Zoom Across.

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    image

    THE SET-UP:

    First
    introduce the Action Words pages. They are used to introduce the language used
    for the formation of the curved and straight lines. The Coloring Pages are then used as introductions
    to the different groups. The groups do not need to be completed in the
    order they are presented.

    image

    Next, each letter will have a page within a group. Action words printed in bold
    should be said aloud to guide the
    child. Using a parrot voice makes it
    more fun and encourages the child to say the words as well.  

    image

    Lastly, there are additional pages including reviews of the groups, copying words, and activity pages. The workbook also includes a visual chart and a guide with all the action words for the 26 letters on one page.

    image

    Visit www.playapy.com to purchase the award-winning Treasure C.H.E.S.T. and its companion workbook Heads, Tummies, & Tails: A Smart Guide to Printing Lowercase Letters.

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    Watch this video for an example of a child using the Action Words.

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  • S.U.P.E.R. Hero Discipline

    Disciplining young
    children can be a frustrating experience. Many parents feel like they are doing
    it wrong and seek help and suggestions. My experience as a therapist has led me
    to create a simple way to remember key elements to help parents have a positive
    and more productive experience when disciplining their children.

    It is critical that
    discipline is presented in a way that allows both the child and the parent to
    be successful. Below I have listed 5 essential components required. The acronym
    SUPER is used to simplify this concept. It is also how I hope you will feel
    when you achieve the results you are seeking, like a super hero!

    S is for Supported holistically. Your body, mind, and soul
    must support any regulation that you set. This means you must be able to follow
    through physically, meet any expectation in relation to time, and be in
    agreement with whatever you state you will implement. For example, if you say
    to your child that you will take away their iPad for a week, you should stick
    with the week timeframe you stipulated. 

    U is for Understood by child. The child must understand
    what the disciplinary action is. If the child doesn’t understand, you are
    setting your child up to fail. It helps to ask your child to repeat back to you
    what you say so that you know your child was aware of your demand and the
    consequence.

    P is for Presented in advance. The disciplinary action
    should be presented in advance when possible. If you have a conversation with
    your child before a situation arises, the child will understand the expectation
    and aftermath before acting. For example, before going to a store, you can say
    that you expect good behavior or the privilege to go the next time will be
    lost.

    E is for Executed consistently. The most important part of
    discipline is honoring what you say. Children respond well when they sense
    consistency. If you execute authority consistently, a child will respect that
    you are sincere and can expect the consequence for his or her action.

    R is for Related to behavior. Discipline should be related
    to the behavior. If you attach penalties that have nothing to do with what the
    child is doing or not doing, it will not make sense to the child and will be
    more difficult for you to execute. For example, you should not threaten to
    prevent your child from attending a party if the party is not related to your
    request.

    I hope you find these
    tips helpful. If you have difficulty controlling the behavior of your child and
    need professional help, consider consulting with a behavioral or occupational
    therapist. Have a playful day!

    Amy Baez, OTR/L, The Smart Play
    Curator

    Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational
    therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and founder of Playapy. For more
    information about Playapy services and products, visit
    www.playapy.com or email info@playapy.com.

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